Unai Basurko finally completes Velux 5 Oceans Race leg 1 leaving him just four days to prepare for second leg 3/1/07

Unai Basurko, the young Basque skipper, crossed the finish line of the Velux 5 Oceans in Fremantle (Western Australia) at 0322 local time yesterday.

Thirty-three-year-old Basurko completed the first leg of the race aboard Pakea, the newest Open 60 after 72 days, 7 hours and 22 minutes at sea.

Despite numerous problems aboard Pakea and unfavourable weather patterns, the result which places him fifth overall in the race, is an important achievement for the Basque hero.

Speaking as he stepped ashore Basurko said: “It was a very hard leg and very long, but the important thing is I am here in Australia. I have already nearly circumnavigated the globe as the boat was built here in Australia. I am very happy and very proud now. The last few miles into Fremantle were hard. We had a lot of problems with the autopilot and the rudder. I sailed the last 5,000 miles with the port rudder up so I had to find a balance with the boat and it was very tricky. Not many days left until the next leg but my team is here and I need to rest and there is a lot of work to do. But the rest of the boat is alright so I think we can sail the next leg in good conditions.”

Basurko has just under a week to rest and prepare himself for the second leg of the race from Fremantle to Norfolk, USA which starts on Sunday January 7.